Let me just say, Spock is the man, or Vulcan for you Trekkies. He understands that the best way to approach anything is with sense and logic first. He keeps his emotions in check until he can’t hold them in any longer. Design should be the same way.

I can’t speak for all designers, but if any of you are like me, there are few things you dislike hearing from a client more than, “I feel…”.

There is something to be said for emotionality in design. We design with the goal of invoking strong emotion. We may even be designing something that we are personally very emotional about, but we still try to remain objective. Too often though, decisions in the design process are made based the personal feelings of one person involved in the project. I can’t tell you how many projects I have seen go one way or the other based solely on one person’s personal preferences.

Now I’m not saying that clients, or designers, should be robots. To be emotional is to be human, but during the design process, it behooves one to step back and be more objective. After all, with few exceptions, people hire designers for their expertise and education. To tell them what they don’t already know. If you hire a designer to take your word on everything and carry out your own vision verbatim, you’ve essentially just wasted your money on an experienced, expensive set of hands. A technician.

Curious how often you Humans manage to obtain that which you do not want.Spock

Designers are trained to be objective. We look at a project from the very beginning to the end as if we were the intended demographic. It’s not about what WE want. It’s about what the audience wants. It’s not what we think they need, but about what we have observed that they need. I hear the words all the time. “I feel this way” or “I think it should be this way”. As a student of graphic design at Auburn University we would participate in group critiques several times during the design process. If you stayed silent you would be called on, so it behooved you to speak your mind. No critique was invalid, unless of course it began with “I think”. Our professors were not interested in what we think or feel.

They want to hear what we know.

Insufficient facts always invite danger, Captain.Spock

If you cannot state something as an absolute, then you cannot fully believe it. Design decisions should be based on quantifiable data, rather than a whim. In a sense, design is a science as well as an art, although not everything is indisputable “fact”. We observe, we research, we test, and we look for that elusive design Shangri-La where form and function coalesce . We don’t stop when we find something we like. In fact, we don’t ever stop, but we find that happy medium where the design is beautiful, AND works for the targeted demographic.

If all design were based solely on preference, there would be no need for lengthy and expensive design education. You can learn everything you need to know about design software online these days. If you want a technician who knows the programs, there are plenty out there that will do the job cheaper. If you want a designer, listen to their expertise before interjecting with your own tastes.

Be like Spock, and approach every project, every goal, and every day with logic and reason, followed by measured emotion.


– Hunter Crawford


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